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African Archaeological Review

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 65–86 | Cite as

The Environmental History of Tigray (Northern Ethiopia) in the Middle and Late Holocene: A Preliminary Outline

  • Kathryn A. Bard
  • Mauro Coltorti
  • Michael C. DiBlasi
  • Francesco Dramis
  • Rodolfo Fattovich
Article

Abstract

This paper outlines the environmental history of the Tigrean Plateau (northern Ethiopia) during the Holocene, based on the available geomorphological, palynological, archaeological, and historical evidence. At present, it seems that (1) the plateau experienced a more humid climate with a denser vegetation cover during the Early Holocene; (2) Soil erosion due to clearing vegetation began in the Middle Holocene; (3) agricultural activity was intensified in the Late Holocene, as a consequence of the rise of a state; (4) demographic pressure increased from the early first millennium BC to the mid–first millennium AD, causing soil erosion; (5) environmental degradation and demographic decline occurred in the late first millennium AD; (6) the vegetation cover was regenerated in the early second millennium AD; and (7) progressive vegetation clearance started again in the second half of the second millennium AD.

Cet article trace l'histoire ambiante du Plateau Tigréen dans l'Holocène en utilisant les données géomorphologiques, palynologiques, archéologiques et historiques. Il semble que (1) dans l'Holocène ancien le plateau était caractérisé par une phase humide avec une dense végétation; (2) l'érosion causée par l'abbattage de la végétation commen¸a dans l'Holocène moyen; (3) l'activité agricole s'inténsifia à la fin de l'Holocène, par conséquence de l'essor d'un état; (4) la pression démographique augmenta de plus en plus du début du premier millénaire av. J.-Ch. à la moitié du premier millénaire ap. J.-Ch.; (5) la dégradation ambiante et la diminution démographique se vérifièrent à la fin du premier millénaire ap. J.-Ch.; (6) une régéneration de la vegetation se vérifia au début du seconde millénaire ap. J.-Ch.; et (7) l'abbatage de la végétation recommen¸a dans la seconde moitié du seconde millénaire ap. J.-Ch.

Holocene environment history Tigray Ethiopia 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn A. Bard
    • 1
  • Mauro Coltorti
    • 2
  • Michael C. DiBlasi
    • 3
  • Francesco Dramis
    • 4
  • Rodolfo Fattovich
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyBoston UniversityBoston
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversita di SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.African Studies Center and Department of ArchaeologyBoston UniversityBoston
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversita di Roma IIIRomaItaly
  5. 5.Dipartimento di Studi e Ricerche su Africa e Paesi ArabiIstituto Universitario OrientaleNapoliItaly

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